Back in the Olden Days of PPC

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When I was a youngin’ we didn’t have them new fangled thangs like Remarketing or Auto-bidding. No, if we wanted something, we had to work for it! There was no such thing as day parting to change bidding. You had to wake up at 5am to turn on your B2B accounts to catch the morning traffic … walking up the hill both ways with a pack of wolves following you. And then you had to find a power plug at Starbucks!

Okay, so not really. But that is what you will hear a lot of old timer PPC people like me saying recently. Now that the Granddaddy of PPC has bowed out … well the great grandchild bowed out (Yahoo Search Marketing, aka Overture, aka GoTo), we are all grumbling. AdWords has ONE major competitor, and they are trying to keep up, but still not there. I am a big fan of AdWords, but things have been rather annoying lately. When I asked Twitter what this column should be, these were the responses:

OOC old days

There is a lot of sentiment here that someone should be listening to (both parties actually). AdWords gives us leading edge reporting but it’s not always accurate. We get kick ass tools, but they haven’t been updated in a while. There are new tools added every day and it’s getting hard to keep up. But is it them, or is it us? (Talk amongst yourselves …)

Take a step back and look at what we have now. The tools at our disposal are awesome. Think about AdWords Editor and Geo-targeting by Zip Code. Back in the day we could not do have the stuff we can do now. It was a pain to change bids, to figure out cost per acquisition, and to modify for ROI. The PPC community keeps getting bites of fantastic material in reporting (Search Query report anyone?), and it just makes our mouths water.

As noted above, there is also a lack of trust and transparency now. AdCenter, want to win us over? Get going on this front. Keep in mind though that in the end, there is really a reason for everything. Don’t shoot the messenger; MSN and Google are just trying to make things better for the end user.

So the next time you want to throw AdWords out the window for any reason, or when you are frustrated with the Yahoo/Microsoft changeover … remember back in the day. In some ways we really did have to walk uphill both ways in the snow with no shoes on.  Both Google and MSN are working hard to give advertisers the information they need to make decisions, but it’s never going to be perfect. However, it is our job to keep them on their toes. I don’t want mine freezing anymore in that damn snow.

Kate Morris
Kate Morris is an SEO Consultant for Distilled Consulting in Seattle, WA. You can find her on twitter @katemorris.
Kate Morris

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  • In the niche I am in, YSM and MSN have never been a great PPC source. Less than 10% of the total volume. Now I'm eagerly looking forward to what they could do after the merger.

    • Me too Jun, I am eagerly awaiting to see how that all works. I haven't spent major time on either in years.

  • Asefati

    I don't know if I fully agree with this statement

    “both Google and MSN are working hard to give advertisers the information they need to make decisions”

    • They give us more information now than they ever did. We have more options and control over where and when we advertise. I mean if you wanted, we could go back to 5 reports in the report center, no day parting, no segmenting, etc. *shrug*

  • Were the olden days really that idyllic or is our memory of them just not that good? It always seems like there has been plenty to complain about even in the olden days.

    • That's always what I am telling my parents nowadays. The world is not going to hell in a hand basket … well … at least if it is, it was 20 year ago too. 🙂

  • Well you know not everyone can like you, and when you drive 65% of the webs traffic do you need to take time to listen?

  • Back in the day, I used this underground software to ride on cent under our main competitors on bids in Overture – it was wonderful and you could hit up any industry and roll in the affiliate money. All without cheating a bit.

    Where I think Adwords is failing in a HUGE way is in clipping the long tail with “low keyword volume” disabling. They used to say this was simply for computing resource reasons and that they'd give more latitude in the future, but here we are 3-4 years later.

    Also nightmarish is the Adwords trademark situation in the franchise or authorized reseller situation. You cannot easily block competitors from trademark use but allow franchisees and authorized resellers to use it. You must file endless, slow-processing paperwork to add individual adwords IDs to the account. This from a company that prefers to automate everything.